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A Brief Meditation on the Days of the Week

by Dwayne Eutsey

I’ve been mulling over the change of seasons and the shortening of daytime that this time of year brings.

The way my mind works, this kind of contemplation often ends up with me mentally chasing thought-bunnies down random rabbit holes full of obscure but interesting tidbits of trivia (well, interesting to me, anyway).

This time around, my seasonal meditations inspired me to pull a dusty dictionary down from the shelf to refresh my memory of how the names for our days of the week have etymological (and spiritual) roots in Germanic paganism.

Although the practices and beliefs of early pagans remain murky, we do know their agrarian-based mythology was deeply rooted in the natural world and the annual turning of the seasonal wheel. Based on the Old English origins of the names for days of the week, these pagans apparently dedicated each day to one of their deities.

For example, “Sunday” originates from the Old English Sunnandaeg, or day of Sunna, the Germanic sun goddess. Pagans honored her brother, Mani, god of the moon, with Monandaeg, our modern-day Monday.  

The rest of the week shares similar pagan origins:

  • Tuesday: Tiwesdaeg, named for Tiu, the Germanic goddess of combat (which may explain why it’s always such a fight to get through most Tuesdays).
  • Wednesday: Wodnesdaeg. If you’ve ever wondered if this day was spelled by someone arbitrarily picking letter tiles from a Scrabble game, here’s the scoop: it originally refers to Woden, the supreme god and creator in Norse mythology.
  • Thursday: Thursdaeg was set aside for Thor, the Norse god of thunder, weather, and crops.
  • Friday: Frigedaeg was the day for Frigga, Woden’s wife and the goddess of married love and of the hearth.

I don’t know if this column has any large or profound meaning, but my reason for writing it is still an important one.

During this autumnal phase when the border between this world and the Otherworld grows thin, according to our pagan sisters and brothers, I just wanted to encourage you to take time to reflect and meditate and let your mind chase some thought-bunnies down a dark rabbit hole or two.

You never know what obscure but edifying treats you’ll find.

 

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